Sometimes I like to punish myself by laboring through movies I have no interest in, just to see what the general movie going populous seems to enjoy. I feel it’s a valuable trait in a reviewer to not only review stuff you are expecting to enjoy, but to review stuff you might not be as excited about. However, these usually seem to be self-fulfilling prophecies when it comes to movies because Couples Retreat is freaking terrible.
The premise is as paper thin as paper thin it gets. A group of friends go to an island resort to investigate their relationships. There is the couple on the verge of divorce, the couple that is happy on the surface, the high school sweethearts who now loathe each other, and the recent divorcee and his young girlfriend. Stereotypical relationships to be sure, but with good writing those stereotypes would at the least be humorous (which I’m guessing was the intent).
But what we get are a group of male actors absolutely sleep-walking through boring, one-dimensional characters. Vince Vaughn (who I used to be a fan of) plays the exact same character he has been playing almost exclusively since Swingers came out. He’s the fast talking funny guy. Sometimes it works (see, Swingers, The Wedding Crashers, Old School) and other times it fails. This is the latter. Though, this is through no fault of Vaughn’s performance exactly. He’s doing exactly what everyone wants him to do. It’s just that with sub-par material (and we are talking VERY sub-par) his humor never hits the mark. He just seems like a smarmy jerk who we are supposed to somehow like.
Jon Favreau and Jason Bateman fare no better with their characters. Bateman, like Vaughn, seems to be sleep-walking through a nothing role where he plays the uptight jerk who could lose his wife to a divorce. Only the character is not sympathetic, nor does he come off believable that he is trying to save his marriage. Favreau could’ve really been the sleeper in this, as he’s the ex-high school football star who is bored with life and wants to cheat on his wife. Yet again, another non-sympathetic character who comes off as a jerk with a super hot wife.
The female leads are likewise terrible. Malin Akerman, while incredibly attractive, is an absolute black hole of charisma in this. Kristen Bell and Kristin Davis? The exact same. The husbands are jerks and the wives are boring.
The fourth couple is played by the enormous Faizon Love and Kali Hawk. Love (as Shane) is another character who is dead on arrival. It’s not until too late that he gets a shred of humanity, and by then I had lost interest. And Kali Hawk either gives a great performance or is just criminally hammy. As the 20 year old Trudy, she is grating from her first line on. It’s tough to tell amidst a film of bored stars whether or not she is purposely being annoying or just makes some horrible choices.
When I say I labored through this movie, I really mean it. Each scene is either tedious, obvious, or just terrible. A Guitar Hero duel with pointless on-screen graphics? Check. A character trying to jack it only to be caught by room service? Check. Character getting a boner from a massage? Check. Every scene is set up and immediately becomes predictable, and not in the good way.
How this movie grossed almost $110 MILLION at the box-office I will never know. It’s pure garbage. I don’t fault any of the actors for doing it (getting paid to vacation in an exotic locale? Hells yeah!), it’s just an abysmal film, start to finish. It literally has zero redeeming qualities. None of the characters are remotely likable, there is no flow to the film, and every line of dialogue is about as obvious as they come. The concept could’ve been successful in the right hands, but the amateurish direction leaves this film dead in the water from the opening credits. But major kudos to Vince Vaughn for not busting out his stock “Let’s get hopped up and make some bad decisions” line that he has used ad nausea in his last handful of movies.
- It ended
- Attractive women
- No sympathetic characters in a film about relationships (who is the audience supposed to get behind?)
- Ken Jeong appears (No matter how minor a role, should NEVER be given work. He is the worst.)
- Uninspired dialogue
- No comedy in an alleged “comedy”
- Obvious developments
- Tacky jokes
Final Score: 0.5/10 (Worst of the Worst)